Subscribe
Special operations forces slide down the rope from a Czech MI-171 helicopter during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands.

Special operations forces slide down the rope from a Czech MI-171 helicopter during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Special operations forces slide down the rope from a Czech MI-171 helicopter during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands.

Special operations forces slide down the rope from a Czech MI-171 helicopter during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Special operations forces prepare to enter a building to search for terrorists during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands.

Special operations forces prepare to enter a building to search for terrorists during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Special operations forces storm off  a U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands.

Special operations forces storm off a U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Special operations forces surround the car of a "terrorist" trying to escape during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands.

Special operations forces surround the car of a "terrorist" trying to escape during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Members of the special operations forces nab a "terrorist" who was trying to escape in a car during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands.

Members of the special operations forces nab a "terrorist" who was trying to escape in a car during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

After capturing a "terrorist," special operations forces speed away from the scene during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands.

After capturing a "terrorist," special operations forces speed away from the scene during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Two Czech MI-171 helicopters come in for a landing to extract special operations troops during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands.

Two Czech MI-171 helicopters come in for a landing to extract special operations troops during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Special operations forces take a captured "terrorist" to a waiting helicopter during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands.

Special operations forces take a captured "terrorist" to a waiting helicopter during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

A U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey  flies away after extracting special operations forces during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands.

A U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey flies away after extracting special operations forces during a demonstration at Jackal Stone 14, an exercise hosted by the U.S. Special Operations Command Europe at Baumholder, Germany, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014. Forces from 10 nations are taking part in the event in numerous locations in Germany and the Netherlands. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

U.S. special operations forces and partners from nine other countries began a major exercise in Baumholder, Germany, on Friday as part of an effort to forge closer ties between the U.S. and Europe’s most elite fighting forces.

About 900 U.S. special operators and support personnel are taking part in this year’s Jackal Stone, which is among Special Operations Command Europe’s largest exercises.

“As partner nations, we share a commitment to promote peace and stability and seek opportunities to improve our interoperability,” Maj. Gen. Gregory J. Lengyel, SOCEUR commander, said at the start of the exercise. “Jackal Stone 14 provides the opportunity for personnel of all participating nations to engage in realistic and challenging training to build experience, cooperation and teamwork.”

In all, about 1,500 troops are participating in the exercise, which ends Sept. 23. The event, a standard SOCEUR program, involves multinational airborne drills and field training. Training locations in Germany include military facilities at Baumholder, Hohenfels, Grafenwöhr and Spangdalem. Den Helder, a military location in the Netherlands, will also be used.

This year marks the first time Jackal Stone has been held in Germany, said Lt. Col. Nick Sternberg, a SOCEUR spokesman. The goal is to take advantage of the country’s extensive training facilities, including those in Baumholder, where troops on Friday conducted a series of combat skill drills.

Participating countries include the Netherlands, which is co-sponsoring the exercise with the U.S., the Czech Republic, Finland, Great Britain, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Slovenia.

“This exercise helps to prepare participants to operate successfully in a joint, multinational, integrated environment,” a SOCEUR news release said.

Exercise scenarios are not related to any real-world events but are designed to “portray realistic and relevant security challenges,” the command said.

While planning for Jackal Stone began nearly a year ago, the training comes amid concern over Russian aggression in Ukraine. In recent months, SOCEUR has increased its training missions across Europe as part of broader efforts by the U.S. and its allies to reassure NATO members in eastern Europe.

Stars and Stripes reporter Michael Abrams contributed to this report.

vandiver.john@stripes.com

author picture
John covers U.S. military activities across Europe and Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he previously worked for newspapers in New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up